Category Archives: Philantropy

FLFers jump in with both feet

A Treehouse Wearhouse volunteer organizes the kids' clothing section. In an average school year, the facility serves more than 1,800 youth

A Treehouse Wearhouse volunteer organizes the kids’ clothing section. In an average school year, the facility serves more than 1,800 youth.

It’s always great to see members of the construction industry engaged in community-support and enhancement projects. It might not be readily apparent to the man on the street, but you can’t swing a 2×4 these days without hitting someone who’s involved in their company’s efforts to raise funds for a cause or provide pro bono renovation services and/or labor for a needy charity. And it’s especially cool to see young people in the industry getting involved.

One notable event coming up over the month of July is a joint effort by a number of organizations that will do a world of good. AGC of Washington’s FLF (Future Leadership Forum) group is pitching-in with other participants to renovate Seattle facilities for Treehouse, the local non-profit foster-child support organization. This “Wearhouse” project will renovate the existing, well-used Treehouse warehouse/store space that’s been in use for 12 years.

When completed, the new Wearhouse space will be brighter, safer, more efficient and a far more appealing place for Foster kids and their caregivers to visit and shop (no charge, of course) for high-quality new and like-new clothing, shoes, school supplies, toys, books and other essentials – much like a modern retail store. And it’s certainly a worthy organization and an equally worthy effort of support: during an average school year, the Wearhouse serves more than 1,800 youth and distributes more than 100,000 items.

Again, it doesn’t take much digging to see where people of the greater A/E/C community are working behind the scenes, often with their employers’ support and even on their own time, to improve the communities around us and help others in need. I tip my hardhat.

Treehouse’s Wearhouse project is still seeking additional funding, materials and labor support, by the way, so if you’d like to donate, please visit

– Sean Lewis

Volunteers finish off Renton Habitat townhouses


Last week, volunteers from the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties and Regence BlueShield showed up in force at Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County’s Renton townhome project called La Fortuna.

Volunteers pitched in to finish off parts of the 3-Star Built Green project. They unmasked floors, installed appliances, painted and cleaned.

On July 16, the keys to the homes will be turned over to eight low-income families. The future homeowners worked together as friends and neighbors to help build and create the community. They include U.S. military veterans, Americans who were once refugees from war-torn countries, and others who came to our region in search of a better life.

The local Habitat chapter has built, renovated or repaired more than 450 homes.

Now that’s a strong finish!

MBA members fix 92-year-old widow’s home


About two dozen volunteers recently converged on Nita Aemmer’s home in the Bitter Lake area of Seattle to spruce up the rundown abode.

The group from the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties and partner group Green Canopy Homes was taking part in Rebuilding Together Seattle — a program that repairs homes for those in need.



Nita is a 92-year-old widow of a World War II veteran who lives with her granddaughter, Danielle, and two great-grandchildren. Before he passed away, Nita’s husband maintained the home well — even added an extension and did all the landscaping and gardening.

After he died, Nita could not maintain the home, so Danielle moved in to help. But Danielle suffers from chronic Lyme disease, often leaving her unable to make repairs, and the condition of the house drastically declined over the years.

The volunteers patched walls, painted, improved exterior drainage, replaced bathroom flooring, repaired siding, deep-cleaned, and made other accessibility and safety improvements.

Way to go guys!


PCL gives $20K to food banks


PCL Construction last month donated $10,000 to Food Lifeline and another $10,000 to Northwest Harvest.
If that wasn’t enough, a crew of 20 PCL staffers helped repackage 880 pounds of produce and 850 pounds of ground coffee at Food Lifeline’s Shoreline facility. The repackaged food was distributed to community food banks.
A donation of $10,000 results in 45,000 meals, according to Northwest Harvest.
PCL’s Seattle operation has donated $90,000 over the last seven years to area food banks. Combined with the efforts of 13 other offices across the country, PCL has donated more than $1 million to food banks.
Great job PCL!

MBA staff cleans up Bellevue park


Last Friday, staff from the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties spent a good part of the day clearing trails, spreading ground cover and performing light yard work at the Mercer Slough Nature Park in Bellevue.

It’s not the first time the MBA has improved the park. In 2009 the builders’ association completed Wet Lab 2 at the park’s Environmental Education Center as part of its centennial year celebration. The 5-Star Built Green lab is used by the Pacific Science Center to teach kids about the environment.

Last week’s work is part of the MBA’s ongoing volunteer work to better the community.

Way to go guys!

Bid now on pink pallet jack

Pink Pallet

UPDATE: Pallet jack sold for $4,150 and there were 11 bidders. The high bidder was John Souza, a principal at J&K Trucking in Pleasanton, Calif. Way to go John!

Raymond Handling Concepts has started the bidding for a pink walkie pallet jack on ebay that will benefit breast cancer charities on the West and East coasts.
Raymond provides material handling equipment on both coasts and has a Seattle-area branch in Auburn. Proceeds from the auction will go to HERS Breast Cancer Foundation of Fremont, California, and The Community Foundation for South Central New York, a partner of the Tina Turner Memorial Golf Classic in Greene, N.Y.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is October.
The auction for the model 102XM machine started on early Wednesday at $350. As of Wednesday evening, eight bidders had submitted 22 bids to drive the price to $2,000. The auction will close at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 16.
Here’s a link to the listing:
Happy bidding!

Seattle pins the tail on the Donkeys in fundraiser

Donkeys_menMcKinstry President Doug Moore, left, and CEO Dean Allen try out orange and blue.

Another competition was held between Seattle and Denver; this one for bragging rights between McKinstry offices.

The offices challenged each other to see who could raise the most money for charity in the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. Seattle came out on top — again — by raising $8,440 to Denver’s $3,215 in the “Cheers for Charity” event.

Donkeys_flag  The Bronco flag flew half-mast for a day at McKinstry’s Seattle office.

The real winners were the organizations receiving the money, including 826 Seattle, Washington Business Week and Safe Crossings.

But the competition also came with a few strings attached: Each contribution milestone reached by either office triggered a requirement for the other office to meet.

Denver beat the $2,000 threshold, which meant the Seattle execs had to wear Donkey, I mean Bronco, jerseys at work for a day and fly the Donkey, I mean Bronco, flag on the corporate flagpole for a day.

Fortunately, there were no stipulations on how the flag was to be flown (see picture).

In Denver, the operations manager had to wear a Seahawks jersey and put Seahawks magnets on his truck until opening day of next football season. They also had to fly the 12th Man flag over their office.


Ritchie Bros. auctioning die-cast models for charity

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers on Thursday will sell two dozen die-cast models of construction equipment at its yard in Chehalis, giving the proceeds to Toys for Tots and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Southwest Washington.

The 1:50- and 1:32-scale models are of rock trucks, dump trucks, truck tractors, bulldozers and other heavy equipment under the brands Caterpillar, Kenworth, John Deere, Freightliner, New Holland, Volvo and Komatsu.

“The items that will be sold as part of the charity auction have been generously donated by our customers from across the Pacific Northwest, and we believe we will receive bids on these items from far and wide, quite possibly from outside our region,” said Ritchie regional sales manager Brad Maas in a release. “This truly is a community effort and our customers are always very generous. We look forward to being able to bring some families in need a little more holiday cheer this season.”

The models will be auctioned along with more than 1,100 pieces of full-size heavy equipment. The charity part of the auction will include an ax signed by Mike Phil from the History Channel’s Ax Men.

Bids can be made in person at the Chehalis auction site, online at and by proxy. Charity items (lot numbers 5474T to 5495T) will begin closing at 12:30 p.m. PST in 30-second intervals and will be part of a timed auction, which takes place over several days with online bids prior to the live auction.

UPDATE: A Ritchie spokesman says the auction raised $2,500 and Ritchie kicked in $3,500 for a total of $6,000 that was split between Toys for Tots and Big Brothers. Mike’s ax fetched $375, the highest of any of the charity items.
Good work Ritchie and those who donated!

McKinstry helps Trailside build a basketball court

Seattle-based McKinstry and Leadership Snohomish County worked together to raise money for a new basketball court for Trailside Boys & Girls Club of Snohomish County, which claims to be the smallest club in the country.

The court opened late last month at 1300 100th Place S.E. in Everett. Trailside opened in 2007 and is free for kids.

“The kids are thrilled with the new court,” said Marci Volmer, area director at Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County, in a release. “We are elated to be able to provide a safe outdoor recreational area for our club members.”

Kevin McKay, vice president for finance and operations at Edmonds Community College, originally contacted McKinstry for help. He was part of a team made up of Darrell Smith (manager of site/civil services at Perteet Inc.),  Adrianne Wagner (quality program manager at The Everett Clinic),  Cathy Johnson (manager of medical surgical nursing at Providence Regional Medical Center) and  Robin Sjolund (branch manager at Union Bank).

“When we heard about Trailside’s need for a new court, we jumped at the opportunity to help,” said Mark Jonson, Seattle energy business unit manager for McKinstry, in the release. “Giving back to the communities where we work and live is a priority for McKinstry. We hope we can continue to work with Trailside and other Boys & Girls Clubs throughout Washington state in the near future.”

Slam-dunk for McKinstry!

Skanska fills its own bin for charity

Four safety leadership training groups within Skanska recently challenged one another to fill a bin with toiletries to benefit Skanska’s neighbor James W. Ray Orion Center for Youth.

The Orion Center is part of YouthCare, which provides shelter/housing, outreach, basic needs, education and employment training for homeless youth.

The friendly competition resulted in two carloads of toiletries for the nonprofit. Way to go Skanska!